Ecclesiastes 8:17
Parallel Verses
New International Version
then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.

King James Bible
Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea further; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.

Darby Bible Translation
then I saw that all [is] the work of God, [and] that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because however man may labour to seek [it] out, yet doth he not find [it]; and even, if a wise [man] think to know [it], he shall not be able to find [it] out.

World English Bible
then I saw all the work of God, that man can't find out the work that is done under the sun, because however much a man labors to seek it out, yet he won't find it. Yes even though a wise man thinks he can comprehend it, he won't be able to find it.

Young's Literal Translation
then I considered all the work of God, that man is not able to find out the work that hath been done under the sun, because though man labour to seek, yet he doth not find; and even though the wise man speak of knowing he is not able to find.

Ecclesiastes 8:17 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun - I saw it to be of such a nature -

1. That a man cannot find it out.

2. That if he labor to find it out, he shall not succeed.

3. That though he be wise - the most instructed among men, and think to find it out, he shall find he is not able. It is beyond the wisdom and power of man. How vain then are all your cavils about Providence. You do not understand it; you cannot comprehend it. Fear God!

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

that a man

Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made every thing beautiful in his time: also he has set the world in their heart...

Ecclesiastes 7:23,24 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me...

Ecclesiastes 11:5 As you know not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child...

Job 5:9 Which does great things and unsearchable; marvelous things without number:

Job 11:7-9 Can you by searching find out God? can you find out the Almighty to perfection...

Psalm 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are your wonderful works which you have done, and your thoughts which are to us-ward...

Psalm 73:16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;

Psalm 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are your works! in wisdom have you made them all: the earth is full of your riches.

Proverbs 30:3,4 I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy...

Isaiah 40:28 Have you not known? have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not...

Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Library
Misused Respite
'Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil'--ECCLES. viii. 11. When the Pharaoh of the Exodus saw there was respite, he hardened his heart. Abject in his fear before Moses, he was ready to promise anything; insolent in his pride, he swallows down his promises as soon as fear is eased, his repentance and his retractation of it combined to add new weights about his neck. He was but a conspicuous example of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Whether Christ Should have Been Circumcised?
Objection 1: It would seem that Christ should not have been circumcised. For on the advent of the reality, the figure ceases. But circumcision was prescribed to Abraham as a sign of the covenant concerning his posterity, as may be seen from Gn. 17. Now this covenant was fulfilled in Christ's birth. Therefore circumcision should have ceased at once. Objection 2: Further, "every action of Christ is a lesson to us" [*Innoc. III, Serm. xxii de Temp.]; wherefore it is written (Jn. 3:15): "I have given
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Ecclesiastes
It is not surprising that the book of Ecclesiastes had a struggle to maintain its place in the canon, and it was probably only its reputed Solomonic authorship and the last two verses of the book that permanently secured its position at the synod of Jamnia in 90 A.D. The Jewish scholars of the first century A.D. were struck by the manner in which it contradicted itself: e.g., "I praised the dead more than the living," iv. 2, "A living dog is better than a dead lion," ix. 4; but they were still more
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

Cross References
Romans 11:33
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

Psalm 73:16
When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply

Ecclesiastes 1:13
I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind!

Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

Ecclesiastes 7:13
Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?

Ecclesiastes 7:23
All this I tested by wisdom and I said, "I am determined to be wise"-- but this was beyond me.

Ecclesiastes 7:24
Whatever exists is far off and most profound-- who can discover it?

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